Inverse correlation of domestic exposure to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus antigen patch test reactivity in patients with atopic dermatitis
In recent years considerable interest in the pathogenetic role of aeroallergens exacerbating atopic dermatitis (AD) has emerged. The ‘atopy patch test’ with aeroallergens was introduced by Platts-Mills et al. as an experimental model and as a diagnostic tool. However, its relevance for the clinical manifestation of AD is still not clear. Objective
We asked whether there is a relationship between the individual antigen exposure to the major allergen of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p 1) and the immunological markers of sensitization to Der p 1 or the clinical severity of AD. Methods
We investigated 92 patients with moderate to severe AD. For clinical evaluation the SCORAD severity score was used. Patch tests were performed with purified Der p 1. Specific IgE was measured by a commercial assay. Der p 1 exposure was quantified in a sample of the patient's mattress dust by using a commercial ELISA. Results
No correlation between SCORAD, Der p 1 exposure and RAST could be established. However, there was an unexpected significant inverse correlation between the quantity of mite antigen in the mattress dust and patch test reactivity. Patients with a high antigen load (> 25 μg/g) mostly had a negative patch test. Also, when Der p 1 was correlated to the mattress area (m2) in this group all patch tests were negative. A possible explanation could be that continuous exposure of the skin to house dust mite allergen Der p 1 may induce a down-regulation of the skin immune system of patients with AD. Conclusion
Although the mechanism of this phenomenon is presently unknown, our study shows that a positive allergen patch test alone should not be an indication to undertake allergen exclusion measures in AD patients.